Back in the day … way back … Cathy Duffy had two books on the market that covered all (or nearly all) of the curriculum options available for homeschool families at that time. Folks, there just weren’t that many — I mean, you really could fit the whole of them in two 1″ volumes! Boy, how times change.
With homeschooling becoming more popular, Christian publishers catering to the homeschool market, savvy developers filling the homeschool curriculum niche, and homeschool families creating their own curriculum options, there are really too many choices to cover! So back in 2005 Cathy Duffy came out with a condensed version of her books, one that focused on the best choices available — 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.
What was unique about this book was not merely the in-depth reviews that gave us the flavor of the products we might be purchasing, but a change in focus — from product to user — first determining what our children need, deciding what methods to use, setting up a schedule, and then finding a product that “has the content and methodology that fits your agenda.” We walked through establishing our own philosophy of education — or at least recognizing that we had one. We considered how our children learn, how we prefer to teach, how much time we have in our schedule to devote to the process, and our experience or comfort level. Gathering all of this information first, we could then peruse the 100 top picks and find those options that really fit our style.
101 Top Picks came out in 2012 — an updated and revised edition. And this past year 102 Top Picks became available. Cathy Duffy has more than 25 years experience in researching homeschool curriculum options. Her reviews have always been very helpful in understanding how something works before purchasing it and trying to implement it in our homes. But the highlight of these new books is the help we receive in making an informed decision based on factors that meet our individual and unique styles, families, and children.
A major feature of 102 Top Picks is the charts showing the 102 Top Picks in relation to educational approaches, learning styles, and practical features such as prep time needed; design for independent, one-on-one, or group learning; and ease of use for the teacher.
You can still read many of the original reviews that appeared in those first volumes at Cathy Duffy’s site free of charge, along with reviews of other products that didn’t make the top 102. Meanwhile, if you are looking for a silver bullet when it comes to your curriculum choices for this coming year, give 102 Top Picks a try. OK, maybe not a silver bullet, but a great start on finding materials that will fit your family!
Cathy Duffy Reviews
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